Wednesday, 9 August 2017

URINALYSIS TEST

Urinalysis

what is urinalysis?


Urinalysis can reveal diseases that have gone unnoticed because they do not produce striking signs or symptoms. Examples include diabetes mellitus, various forms of glomerulonephritis, and chronic urinary tract infections.
The most cost-effective device used to screen urine is a paper or plastic dipstick. This microchemistry system has been available for many years and allows qualitative and semi-quantitative analysis within one minute by simple but careful observation. The color change occurring on each segment of the strip is compared to a color chart to obtain results. However, a careless doctor, nurse, or assistant is entirely capable of misreading or misinterpreting the results. Microscopic urinalysis requires only a relatively inexpensive light microscope.

MACROSCOPIC URINALYSIS

The first part of a urinalysis is direct visual observation. Normal, fresh urine is pale to dark yellow or amber in color and clear. Normal urine volume is 750 to 2000 ml/24hr.
Turbidity or cloudiness may be caused by excessive cellular material or protein in the urine or may develop from crystallization or precipitation of salts upon standing at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Clearing of the specimen after addition of a small amount of acid indicates that precipitation of salts is the probable cause of tubidity.
A red or red-brown (abnormal) color could be from a food dye, eating fresh beets, a drug, or the presence of either hemoglobin or myoglobin. If the sample contained many red blood cells, it would be cloudy as well as red.


Examples of appearances of urine

URINE DIPSTICK CHEMICAL ANALYSIS


Overview

A dipstick is a paper strip with patches impregnated with chemicals that undergo a color change when certain constituents of the urine are present or in a certain concentration. The strip is dipped into the urine sample, and after the appropriate number of seconds, the color change is compared to a standard chart to determine the findings.
(MouseOver [or touch] below for results)
Leukocyte esterase
Nitrite
pH
Protein
Blood
Specific gravity
Ketones
Glucose
Bilirubin
Findings: Leukocyte esterase 3+, Nitrite Pos; pH 7.0; Protein Neg; Blood Neg; Sp Gr 1.015; Ketones 1+, Glucose 1+; Bilirubin Neg

pH

The glomerular filtrate of blood plasma is usually acidified by renal tubules and collecting ducts from a pH of 7.4 to about 6 in the final urine. However, depending on the acid-base status, urinary pH may range from as low as 4.5 to as high as 8.0. The change to the acid side of 7.4 is accomplished in the distal convoluted tubule and the collecting duct.

Specific Gravity (sp gr)

Specific gravity of urine is determined by the presence of solutes represented by particles of varying sizes, from small ions to larger proteins. Urine osmolality measures the total number of dissolved particles, regardless of their size. The most common method of measurement is freezing point depression. A refractometer measures the change in direction of a light path (refraction) based upon particle concentration and size in a fluid. Larger particles such as glucose and albumin will alter refraction to a greater degree. The urine dipstick measurement of specific gravity is an approximation that is most sensitive to cationic concentration in urine. Therefore, dipstick specific gravity is altered by very high or low urine pH, but not large particles like proteins.
Urine specific gravity (U-SG) is directly proportional to urine osmolality (U-Osm). A U-Osm of 400 mOsm/Kg equates to sp gr of 1.010, and 800 mOsm/kg to sp gr of 1.020 (Note: the amount of solute in a kilogram of solvent is termed osmolality, and the amount per liter of solvent is osmolarity). The ability of the kidneys to concentrate or dilute the urine over that of plasma is being measured.
Specific gravity between 1.002 and 1.035 on a random sample should be considered normal if kidney function is normal. Since the sp gr of the glomerular filtrate in Bowman's space ranges from 1.007 to 1.010, any measurement below this range indicates hydration and any measurement above it indicates relative dehydration.
If sp gr is not > 1.022 after a 12 hour period without food or water, renal concentrating ability is impaired and the patient either has generalized renal impairment or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. In end-stage renal disease, sp gr tends to become 1.007 to 1.010.
Any urine having a specific gravity over 1.035 is either contaminated, contains very high levels of glucose, or the patient may have recently received high density radiopaque dyes intravenously for radiographic studies or low molecular weight dextran solutions. Subtract 0.004 for every 1% glucose to determine non-glucose solute concentration.

Protein

Dipstick screening for protein is done on whole urine, but semi-quantitative tests for urine protein should be performed on the supernatant of centrifuged urine since the cells suspended in normal urine can produce a falsely high estimation of protein. Normally, only small plasma proteins filtered at the glomerulus are reabsorbed by the renal tubule. However, a small amount of filtered plasma proteins and protein secreted by the nephron (Tamm-Horsfall protein) can be found in normal urine. Normal total protein excretion does not usually exceed 150 mg/24 hours or 10 mg/100 ml in any single specimen. More than 150 mg/day is defined as proteinuria. Proteinuria > 3.5 gm/24 hours is severe and known as nephrotic syndrome.
Dipsticks detect protein by production of color with an indicator dye, Bromphenol blue, which is most sensitive to albumin but detects globulins and Bence-Jones protein poorly. Precipitation by heat is a better semiquantitative method, but overall, it is not a highly sensitive test. The sulfosalicylic acid test is a more sensitive precipitation test. It can detect albumin, globulins, and Bence-Jones protein at low concentrations.
In rough terms, trace positive results (which represent a slightly hazy appearance in urine) are equivalent to 10 mg/100 ml or about 150 mg/24 hours (the upper limit of normal). 1+ corresponds to about 200-500 mg/24 hours, a 2+ to 0.5-1.5 gm/24 hours, a 3+ to 2-5 gm/24 hours, and a 4+ represents 7 gm/24 hours or greater.

Glucose

Less than 0.1% of glucose normally filtered by the glomerulus appears in urine (< 130 mg/24 hr). Glycosuria (excess sugar in urine) generally means diabetes mellitus. Dipsticks employing the glucose oxidase reaction for screening are specific for glucos glucose but can miss other reducing sugars such as galactose and fructose. For this reason, most newborn and infant urines are routinely screened for reducing sugars by methods other than glucose oxidase (such as the Clinitest, a modified Benedict's copper reduction test).

Ketones

Ketones (acetone, aceotacetic acid, beta-hydroxybutyric acid) resulting from either diabetic ketosis or some other form of calorie deprivation (starvation), are easily detected using either dipsticks or test tablets containing sodium nitroprusside.

Nitrite

A positive nitrite test indicates that bacteria may be present in significant numbers in urine. Gram negative rods such as E. coli are more likely to give a positive test.

Leukocyte Esterase

A positive leukocyte esterase test results from the presence of white blood cells either as whole cells or as lysed cells. Pyuria can be detected even if the urine sample contains damaged or lysed WBC's. A negative leukocyte esterase test means that an infection is unlikely and that, without additional evidence of urinary tract infection, microscopic exam and/or urine culture need not be done to rule out significant bacteriuria.



MICROSCOPIC URINALYSIS

Methodology

A sample of well-mixed urine (usually 10-15 ml) is centrifuged in a test tube at relatively low speed (about 2-3,000 rpm) for 5-10 minutes until a moderately cohesive button is produced at the bottom of the tube. The supernate is decanted and a volume of 0.2 to 0.5 ml is left inside the tube. The sediment is resuspended in the remaining supernate by flicking the bottom of the tube several times. A drop of resuspended sediment is poured onto a glass slide and coverslipped.



Examination

The sediment is first examined under low power to identify most crystals, casts, squamous cells, and other large objects. The numbers of casts seen are usually reported as number of each type found per low power field (LPF). Example: 5-10 hyaline casts/L casts/LPF. Since the number of elements found in each field may vary considerably from one field to another, several fields are averaged. Next, examination is carried out at high power to identify crystals, cells, and bacteria. The various types of cells are usually described as the number of each type found per average high power field (HPF). Example: 1-5 WBC/HPF.



Red Blood Cells

Hematuria is the presence of abnormal numbers of red cells in urine due to: glomerular damage, tumors which erode the urinary tract anywhere along its length, kidney trauma, urinary tract stones, renal infarcts, acute tubular necrosis, upper and lower uri urinary tract infections, nephrotoxins, and physical stress. Red cells may also contaminate the urine from the vagina in menstruating women or from trauma produced by bladder catherization. Theoretically, no red cells should be found, but some find their way into the urine even in very healthy individuals. However, if one or more red cells can be found in every high power field, and if contamination can be ruled out, the specimen is probably abnormal.
RBC's may appear normally shaped, swollen by dilute urine (in fact, only cell ghosts and free hemoglobin may remain), or crenated by concentrated urine. Both swollen, partly hemolyzed RBC's and crenated RBC's are sometimes difficult to distinguish from WBC's in the urine. In addition, red cell ghosts may simulate yeast. The presence of dysmorphic RBC's in urine suggests a glomerular disease such as a glomerulonephritis. Dysmorphic RBC's have odd shapes as a consequence of being distorted via passage through the abnormal glomerular structure.





White Blood Cells

Pyuria refers to the presence of abnormal numbers of leukocytes that may appear with infection in either the upper or lower urinary tract or with acute glomerulonephritis. Usually, the WBC's are granulocytes. White cells from the vagina, especially in the presence of vaginal and cervical infections, or the external urethral meatus in men and women may contaminate the urine.
If two or more leukocytes per each high power field appear in non-contaminated urine, the specimen is probably abnormal. Leukocytes have lobed nuclei and granular cytoplasm.


White blood cells in urine



Epithelial Cells

Renal tubular epithelial cells, usually larger than granulocytes, contain a large round or oval nucleus and normally slough into the urine in small numbers. However, with nephrotic syndrome and in conditions leading to tubular degeneration, the number sloughed is increased.
When lipiduria occurs, these cells contain endogenous fats. When filled with numerous fat droplets, such cells are called oval fat bodies. Oval fat bodies exhibit a "Maltese cross" configuration by polarized light microscopy.


Oval fat bodies in urine
Transitional epithelial cells from the renal pelvis, ureter, or bladder have more regular cell borders, larger nuclei, and smaller overall size than squamous epithelium. Renal tubular epithelial cells are smaller and rounder than transitional epithelium, and their nucleus occupies more of the total cell volume.
Squamous epithelial cells from the skin surface or from the outer urethra can appear in urine.
Their significance is that they represent possible contamination of the specimen with skin flora.


Squamous epithelial cells in urine 


Casts

Urinary casts are formed only in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT) or the collecting duct (distal nephron). The proximal convoluted tubule (PCT) and loop of Henle are not locations for cast formation. Hyaline casts are composed primarily of a mucoprotein (Tamm-Horsfall protein) secreted by tubule cells. The Tamm-Horsfall protein secretion (green dots) is illustrated in the diagram below, forming a hyaline cast in the collecting duct:
Even with glomerular injury causing increased glomerular permeability to plasma proteins with resulting proteinuria, most matrix or "glue" that cements urinary casts together is Tamm-Horsfall mucoprotein, although albumin and some globulins are also incorporated. An example of glomerular inflammation with leakage of RBC's to produce a red blood cell cast is shown in the diagram below:
The factors which favor protein cast formation are low flow rate, high salt concentration, and low pH, all of which favor protein denaturation and precipitation, particularly that of the Tamm-Horsfall protein. Protein casts with long, thin tails formed at the junction of Henle's loop and the distal convoluted tubule are called cylindroids. Hyaline casts can be seen even in healthy patients.
Red blood cells may stick together and form red blood cell casts. Such casts are indicative of glomerulonephritis, with leakage of RBC's from glomeruli, or severe tubular damage.
White blood cell casts are most typical for acute pyelonephritis, but they may also be present with glomerulonephritis. Their presence indicates inflammation of the kidney, because such casts will not form except in the kidney.
When cellular casts remain in the nephron for some time before they are flushed into the bladder urine, the cells may degenerate to become a coarsely granular cast, later a finely granular cast, and ultimately, a waxy cast. Granular and waxy casts are be believed to derive from renal tubular cell casts. Broad casts are believed to emanate from damaged and dilated tubules and are therefore seen in end-stage chronic renal disease.

The so-called telescoped urinary sediment is one in which red cells, white cells, oval fat bodies, and all types of casts are found in more or less equal profusion. The conditions which may lead to a telescoped sediment are: 1) lupus nephritis 2) malignant hypertension 3) diabetic glomerulosclerosis, and 4) rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis.
In end-stage kidney disease of any cause, the urinary sediment often becomes very scant because few remaining nephrons produce dilute urine.





Bacteria

Bacteria are common in urine specimens because of the abundant normal microbial flora of the vagina or external urethral meatus and because of their ability to rapidly multiply in urine standing at room temperature. Therefore, microbial organisms found in all but the most scrupulously collected urines should be interpreted in view of clinical symptoms.
Diagnosis of bacteriuria in a case of suspected urinary tract infection requires culture. A colony count may also be done to see if significant numbers of bacteria are present. Generally, more than 100,000/ml of one organism reflects significant bacteriuria. Multiple organisms reflect contamination. However, the presence of any organism in catheterized or suprapubic tap specimens should be considered significant.



Yeast

Yeast cells may be contaminants or represent a true yeast infection. They are often difficult to distinguish from red cells and amorphous crystals but are distinguished by their tendency to bud. Most often they are Candida, which may colonize bladder, urethra, or vagina.



Crystals

Common crystals seen even in healthy patients include calcium oxalate, triple phosphate crystals and amorphous phosphates.
Very uncommon crystals include: cystine crystals in urine of neonates with congenital cystinuria or severe liver disease, tyrosine crystals with congenital tyrosinosis or marked liver impairment, or leucine crystals in patients with severe liver disease or with maple syrup urine disease.





Miscellaneous

General "crud" or unidentifiable objects may find their way into a specimen, particularly those that patients bring from home.
Spermatozoa can sometimes be seen. Rarely, pinworm ova may contaminate the urine. In Egypt, ova from bladder infestations with schistosomiasis may be seen.



METHODS OF URINE COLLECTION

  1. Random collection taken at any time of day with no precautions regarding contamination. The sample may be dilute, isotonic, or hypertonic and may contain white cells, bacteria, and squamous epithelium as contaminants. In females, the specimen may cont contain vaginal contaminants such as trichomonads, yeast, and during menses, red cells.
  2. Early morning collection of the sample before ingestion of any fluid. This is usually hypertonic and reflects the ability of the kidney to concentrate urine during dehydration which occurs overnight. If all fluid ingestion has been avoided since 6 p.m. the previous day, the specific gravity usually exceeds 1.022 in healthy individuals.
  3. Clean-catch, midstream urine specimen collected after cleansing the external urethral meatus. A cotton sponge soaked with benzalkonium hydrochloride is useful and non-irritating for this purpose. A midstream urine is one in which the first half of the bladder urine is discarded and the collection vessel is introduced into the urinary stream to catch the last half. The first half of the stream serves to flush contaminating cells and microbes from the outer urethra prior to collection. This sounds easy, but it isn't (try it yourself before criticizing the patient).
  4. Catherization of the bladder through the urethra for urine collection is carried out only in special circumstances, i.e., in a comatose or confused patient. This procedure risks introducing infection and traumatizing the urethra and bladder, thus producing iatrogenic infection or hematuria.
  5. Suprapubic transabdominal needle aspiration of the bladder. When done under ideal conditions, this provides the purest sampling of bladder urine. This is a good method for infants and small children.

Summary

To summarize, a properly collected clean-catch, midstream urine after cleansing of the urethral meatus is adequate for complete urinalysis. In fact, these specimens generally suffice even for urine culture. A period of dehydration may precede urine collection if testing of renal concentration is desired, but any specific gravity > 1.022 measured in a randomly collected specimen denotes adequate renal concentration so long as there are no abnormal solutes in the urine.
Another important factor is the interval of time which elapses from collection to examination in the laboratory. Changes which occur with time after collection include: 1) decreased clarity due to crystallization of solutes, 2) rising pH, 3) loss of ketone bodies, 4) loss of bilirubin, 5) dissolution of cells and casts, and 6) overgrowth of contaminating microorganisms. Generally, urinalysis may not reflect the findings of absolutely fresh urine if the sample is > 1 hour old. Therefore, get the urine to the laboratory as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

THE HUMAN PLASTINATION PROCESS


The 


Plastination 


Process




Even though a major German encyclopedia (the 19th edition of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia, 1992) indicates that the word "Plastination" is derived from the Greek (from plassein = to shape, to form), the term is, in fact, a creation of Gunther von Hagens. He coined the term because "plastification" already had a fixed meaning in the field of polymer chemistry, and the expression used in the original patents of 1977/78 ("Polymer Impregnation of Perishable, Biological Specimens”) was not terribly catchy and was utterly inadequate for popularizing the new technology, particularly abroad. The following will provide an explanation of how Plastination works. We will first present the process in a general, comprehensible manner; for those with an interest, we will then go into more detail regarding the chemicals and chemical processes used.


A process at the interface of the medical discipline of anatomy and modern polymer chemistry, Plastination makes it possible to preserve individual tissues and organs that have been removed from the body of the deceased as well as the entire body itself. Like most inventions, Plastination is simple in theory: in order to make a specimen permanent, decomposition must be halted. Decomposition is a natural process triggered initially by cell enzymes released after death and later completed when the body is colonized by putrefaction bacteria and other microorganisms. By removing water and fats from the tissue and replacing these with polymers, the Plastination process deprives bacteria of what they need to survive. Bodily fluids cannot, however, be replaced directly with polymers, because the two are chemically incompatible. Gunther von Hagens found a way around this problem: In the initial fluidexchange step, water in the tissues (which comprises approximately 70% of the human body) and fatty tissues are replaced with acetone, a solvent that readily evaporates. In the second step, the acetone is replaced with a polymer solution. The trick that first proved to be critical for pulling the liquid polymer into each and every cell is what he calls "forced vacuum impregnation." A specimen is placed in a vacuum chamber and the pressure is reduced to the point where the solvent boils. The acetone is suctioned out of the tissue at the moment it vaporizes, and the resulting vacuum in the specimen causes the polymer solution to permeate the tissue This exchange process is allowed to continue until all of the tissue has been completely saturated—while a matter of only a few days for thin slices, this step can take weeks for whole bodies.

The second trick is selecting the right polymer. For this purpose, "reactive polymers" are used, i.e., polymers that cure (polymerize) under specific conditions, such as the presence of light, heat, or certain gases. Their viscosity must be low, i.e., they have to be very thin liquids; they must be able to resist yellowing; and, of course, they must be compatible with human tissue. The polymer selected determines the look and feel of the finished specimen.

                      The Method of Plastination


Plastination is a relatively simple process designed to preserve the body for educational and instructional purposes.

Plastination, like many revolutionary inventions, is simple in concept:

1. Embalming and Anatomical Dissection
The first step of the process involves halting decay by pumping formalin into the body through the arteries.

Formalin kills all bacteria and chemically stops the decay of tissue.


Using dissection tools, the skin, fatty and connective tissues are removed in order to prepare the individual anatomical structures.



2.           Removal of Body Fat and Water
In the first step, the body water and soluble fats are dissolved from the body by placing it into a solvent bath (e.g., an acetone bath).




3. Forced Impregnation
This second exchange process is the central step in Plastination. During forced impregnation a reactive polymer, e.g., silicone rubber, replaces the acetone. To achieve this, the specimen is immersed in a polymer solution and placed in vacuum chamber.

 The vacuum removes the acetone from the specimen and helps the polymer to penetrate every last cell.



4. Positioning
After vacuum impregnation, the body is positioned as desired. Every single anatomical structure is properly aligned and fixed with the help of wires, needles, clamps, and foam blocks.


5. Curing (Hardening)
In the final step, the specimen is hardened. Depending on the polymer used, this is done with gas, light, or heat. Dissection and Plastination of an entire body requires about 1,500 working hours and normally takes about one year to complete.


    

BIODUR Products


Visit the BIODUR® Products website: www.biodurproducts.com


Preservation by Plastination
                       The study of biological specimens is significantly impeded by processes of decay. Thus, for centuries, people have been looking for appropriate methods of preservation. Thanks to the method of plastination, biological specimens can be prepared for research, teaching, and demonstration purposes in a lifelike and durable manner. To this end, in a vacuum process, specimens are impregnated with special reactive polymers. The mechanical (flexible or rigid) and optical (translucent or opaque) properties of the polymers used determine the characteristics of the preserved objects. Plastinated specimens are dry and odorless; they maintain their original surface relief and are identical to their state prior to preservation, down to the cellular level. Even histological studies can be performed on them.The method of plastination is based on replacing the water and fat contained in tissues with a reactive polymer such as silicone rubber, epoxy, or polyester resins: In a solvent bath, initially the tissue water is replaced by freeze substitution, and later, at room temperature, the tissue fats are gradually replaced by acetone. The dehydrated and degreased specimen subsequently is placed into the polymer solution. Under vacuum conditions, the solvent, in its gaseous state, is then continuously extracted from the specimen, creating a negative pressure that causes the polymer to gradually enter into the tissue. Following this process of “forced impregnation,“ the specimen is cured with gas, light, or heat, depending on the polymer used.
A special variation of plastination is “sheet plastination.“ With this method, specimens such as individual organs or entire bodies, mostly in a deep frozen state, first are cut or sawed into slices of 2 mm to 8 mm (about 1/12 inch to 1/3 inch) thickness. These slices, placed between polymer nettings, are then dehydrated, degreased, and eventually impregnated with polymer under vacuum conditions. In order to give the specimens a smooth surface, the impregnated slices are either cured between foil or in a flat chamber are casted with additional resin. The refractive index of the resin used determines the optical properties of the plastinated body slices: Epoxy resin yields translucency and good coloration of the various tissues; polyester resin, which is used for plastinating brain slices, allows for particularly good discrimination between white and gray brain matter.
Plastinated slices of organs and bodies constitute excellent teaching materials in cross-sectional anatomy, a field of ever increasing importance, and they correlate well with radiographic images. Serial sections of translucent body slices are useful in various scientific research approaches. In addition, they are a suitable diagnostic aid in pathology because they allow for quick macroscopic-diagnostic screening of entire organs and organ specimens. Pathologically modified tissue areas can then be selectively analyzed with conventional histological methods. Plastination was invented at the Anatomical Institute of Heidelberg University by Gunther von Hagens in 1977 and has been further refined since. By now, it has been generally recognized as a valid method of preservation and is practiced at more than 400 institutions in 40 countries. The main reasons for this wide-spread popularity of the method are the toughness, the durability, and the lifelikeness of the plastinates and the associated high teaching value.                 
   
   

Friday, 14 July 2017

HOW TO CONCEIVE A BABY BOY


How to conceive a boy



Some couples are almost desperate to conceive a baby of one particular gender. Fathers especially, can be eager to have a boy but there are also mothers who long for a son. Most couples however, are happy with either a boy or a girl baby, as long as it is healthy and strong. But if you are keen to try to sway the odds of having a boy then there is no harm in trying. Just remember that there are no guarantees and the odds of conceiving a boy or a girl are almost exactly the same for each and every pregnancy.
No matter what claims are made by companies asserting their skills in predicting whether a boy or girl will be conceived, don’t be too trusting. A lot of time, money, trust and energy can be wasted by couples who think they can consciously influence their baby’s gender. It’s worth remembering that the only scientifically proven strategy which can sway the odds, just slightly, is the timing of intercourse.
Diet, lunar calendars, sexual positions and even the boy/girl patterning within families do not change the likelihood of gender determination.
You can use this table below to read age(girl) of your partner and month that you need to get baby boy or girl.


Top tips for conceiving a boy

  • Time sex to coincide with the day of ovulation (no earlier than 24 hours before you are about to ovulate).
  • Deep penetrative sex is preferable.
  • It helps if the woman orgasms.
  • Have an energy drink, a cup of coffee or some chocolate before having sex.
  • Get your partner to trade in the tightie-whities for some boxer shorts. 

What’s a fact and what’s a fallacy?

  • Fact – men influence the gender of the baby, not women. Men provide the sperm which either has an X (girl) or Y (boy) linked sex chromosome.
  • There is no sure-fire guarantee of having a baby of a particular gender. Hoping and trying for a boy or girl is just that, and does not influence the odds in either direction.
  • One testicle does not produce girl sperm and the other boy sperm. Both produce an equal number of X and Y sperm and it is random chance, rather than management, which one fertilises the egg.
  • Some men do seem to produce better quality X or Y sperm which may account for the reason why particular families have large numbers of girls or boys.
  • Herbal and complementary medicine remedies do not impact on the likelihood of having a girl or a boy. They tend to offer spurious claims which are not based on scientific fact and reason.

Can’t I choose which sex my baby is?


At the current time in Australia, the only occasion when gender selection is done via fertility assistance is when there is a likelihood of the baby inheriting a sex linked disorder. Genetic counselling is often recommended as one part of an overall treatment regime. It is true that in some countries ‘designer babies’ are more common, with clinics freely advertising their success rates. Though the important issues of control over biology, quality of the parent/child relationship and expectations which may be placed on the ‘perfect’ child need to be thought about by parents very carefully in advance.

Characteristics of boy spermWhat this means to you
Are identified as looking like a YNothing really, just an interesting point.
Are not as resilient or strong as girl sperm.Interesting but nothing more.
Have short bursts of power before they fizzle out in energy.This affects the timing of sex to coincide with ovulation; don’t expect them to hang around.
Are not capable of fertilising the egg past 24 hours after they have left the man’s body.Timing sex to coincide with the day of ovulation may help slightly to increase the odds of having a boy.
Move at high speed towards the egg.Interesting but out of your control.



Characteristics of girl spermWhat this means to you
Are identified as looking like an X.Interesting – some people remember the differences because they claim that the extra arm on the x indicates more strength.
Are more resilient and live for longer than Y sperm. This means they can still fertilise the egg 4-5 days after they have left the man’s body.You don’t need to be so particular about timing sex to coincide with ovulation. Female sperm can wait around for longer until the egg is ready to be fertilised.
Require less ‘nurturing’ to find their way to the egg.Interesting, but you don’t need to do anything consciously to look after them. Just don’t douche.
Move more slowly than Y sperm but retain their energy.Again, you don’t need to do anything in particular.

Timing of intercourse

The timing of when a couple has sex is thought to actually make a difference in helping to conceive with a boy. It is one of the strategies suggested in The Shettles Method, which claims that the chances of having a boy are boosted when conception occurs as close to ovulation as possible. Boy or Y sperm are not as resilient as the X or female sperm, and according to Shettles it may help to provide a bit of additional support in supporting the Y sperm to get to their destination and not have to compete any more than they absolutely have to. Of course, this all depends on the willingness of a couple to track the woman’s ovulation and be available to each other over those crucial fertile hours.
According to Shettles, if you want a boy then avoid having sex:
  • no earlier than 24 hours before you are about to “ovulate”/conception/ovulation.
  • not after 12 hours since you have ovulated.
Shettles also advises that if couples want to conceive with a boy:
  • Best positions: deep penetrative sex is preferable. This helps to deposit the semen and sperm closest to the woman’s cervix so they are given the best opportunity to get to the egg in the fallopian tube. Twelve hours before ovulation is thought to maximise the chances of conceiving with a boy.
  • It also helps if the woman orgasms. This boosts the alkaline properties of the vagina which again, supports the sperm to do their work. Orgasm also causes uterine and vaginal contractions which help to push the sperm upwards where they need to go.

How do I know when I’ve ovulated?


  • Many women develop a distinctive pain on one side of their lower pelvis, which occurs mid-way through their monthly cycle.
  • Changes in the cervical mucous. Fertile mucous is clear, watery and stretchy – it appears similar to egg white. The cells change to encourage the smooth passage of sperm upwards through the cervix towards the fallopian tubes. Fertile mucous is also less acidic than non-fertile mucous and this environment favours the sperm rather than killing them off.
  • You could try using an ovulation testing kit. These detect hormonal changes which occur at ovulation, particularly an increase in Luteinizing Hormone. But there is still some disagreement over their effectiveness. Kits cost anywhere between $25.00 – $40.00.
  • You may feel different. Women who have ovulated and are at their most fertile often experience and increase in their libido, they appear more attractive and are more relaxed.
  • An increase in your basal body temperature. This is the lowest temperature which is attained by your body during rest and sleep. Just before ovulation occurs there is a rise in the temperature by a couple of degrees. If you are trying to conceive a boy, then it can be useful to chart your basal body temperature for a few months so you know your peak times of fertility.

General tips to help conceive a boy


  • Caffeine may help to give the Y laden sperm an additional boost. An energy drink, cup of coffee or even some chocolate before having sex won’t do any harm.
  • Suggest your partner change his underpants preference if he’s into the tighter briefs. Boxer shorts may look less glamorous but they don’t ‘hug’ the testicles close to the body and cause them to overheat. This in turn, can reduce the number of sperm which are produced and in turn, the likelihood of conceiving with a boy.

What about the food I’m eating?

It does seem that male sperm prefer an alkaline vaginal environment, which is where the correlation between diet and gender selection comes in. But whether or not eating a less acidic diet makes a difference is still open to debate. But it probably does no harm.
If you want to conceive a boy baby then you may want to consider eating less of these types of foods:
  • Spicy foods which contain vinegar, citrus juices and fruits and tart/tangy flavours.
  • Avoid eating dairy foods such as milk, cheese, youghurt and ice-cream.
  • Eat more foods which contain potassium such as bananas, broccoli, potatoes, spinach and brussel sprouts.
  • Some researchers believe that taking a daily supplement of Evening Primrose Oil boosts the chances of conceiving a boy.
Try eating more of these foods:
  • Bread, avocado, almonds, sprouts and wheatgrass.
  • Pine nuts and cherries.

PREGNANCY TEST

Pregnancy Tests



A pregnancy test may let you know, one way or the other, if you are pregnant.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about pregnancy tests.


What is a pregnancy test and how does it work?


Pregnancy tests are designed to tell if your urine or blood contains a hormone calledhuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced right after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of a woman's uterus.
This usually happens -- but not always -- about six days after fertilization. If you're pregnant, levels of hCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days.


What types of pregnancy tests are available?


Two main types of pregnancy tests can let you know if you're pregnant: urine tests and blood tests.

related content

 Early Signs of Pregnancy


Urine tests can be done at home or in a doctor's office. Many women first choose a home pregnancy test to take about a week after a missed periodHome pregnancy testsare private and convenient.
These products come with instructions. Follow them closely for the most accurate results. After testing, you can confirm results by seeing your doctor, who can perform even more sensitive pregnancy tests.
Blood tests are done at your doctor's office, but are used less often than urine tests. These tests can detect pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test, or about six to eight days after ovulation. But with these tests, it takes longer to get the results than with a home pregnancy test.
Two types of blood pregnancy tests are available:
A qualitative hCG test simply checks to see if hCG is present. It gives a "yes" or "no" answer to the question, "Are you pregnant?" Doctors often order these tests to confirm pregnancy as early as 10 days after a missed period. However, some of these tests can detect hCG much earlier.
A quantitative hCG test (beta hCG) measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. It can find even very low levels of hCG. Because these pregnancy tests can measure the concentration of hCG, they may be helpful in tracking any problems during pregnancy. They may also (in combination with other tests) be used to rule out a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy or to monitor a woman after a miscarriage when hCG levels fall rapidly.

How accurate are pregnancy tests?


You should know that waiting at least a week after a missed period may give you the most accurate result. Results may also be more accurate if you do the test first thing in the morning, when your urine is more concentrated.
Urine home pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate. Blood tests are even more accurate than this.
How accurate a home pregnancy test is depends upon:
  • How closely you follow instructions.
  • When you ovulate in your cycle and how soon implantation occurs.
  • How soon after pregnancy you take the test.
  • The sensitivity of the pregnancy test
Home pregnancy tests are quick and easy to use. They are also very accurate if you carefully follow directions. These pregnancy tests all work in a similar way. You test the urine in one of these ways:
  • Hold the test's stick in your urine stream.
  • Collect urine in a cup and then dip the test's stick into it.
  • Collect urine in a cup and use a dropper to put urine into another container.
With all of these techniques, you need to wait a few minutes before seeing the results. Results may show up as a line, a color, or a symbol such as a "+" or "-" sign. Digital tests produce the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant."
If you have any questions about the pregnancy test or the results, call your doctor or the telephone number listed with the home pregnancy test.

What do the pregnancy test results mean?


It's important to know what a positive or negative result means.
If you get a positive result, you are pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color, or sign is. If you get a positive result, you may want to call your doctor to talk about what comes next.
In very rare cases, you can have a false-positive result. This means you're not pregnant but the test says you are. You could have a false-positive result if blood or protein is present in your urine. And certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics, may also cause false-positive results.
If you get a negative result, you are likely not pregnant. However, you may still be pregnant if:
  • The test is past its expiration date.
  • You took the test the wrong way.
  • You tested too soon.
  • Your urine is too diluted because you consumed large amounts of fluid right before the test.
  • You are taking certain medications, such as diuretics or antihistamines.